NGOs to ADB: Don't invest until war is resolved

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 February 2000, 14:47 GMT]
Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Trincomalee district today brought to the notice of the visiting team of experts of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that unless the devastating war is brought to an end, all development projects initiated with foreign funding agencies would go waste.

It's better to concentrate more on bringing peace to the country instead of formulating development projects in war-torn north east province where now people are deprived of their livelihood due to ban on fishing and other restrictions, the NGO representatives told the ADB team.

The ADB team comprised of Ms Mariam S. Pal, Economist (Social Development) and Mr. C. R. Rajendran, Senior Project Specialist.

They met representatives of NGOs in the district to obtain their opinions in implementing emergency and long term development projects in the spheres of fisheries and environmental protection in the east coast of the island.

The discussion took place at Trincomalee Social Service Center. The Chairman of the Trincomalee District Non-Governmental Organizations' Consortium Mr. T. Thavasilingam presided.

In his opening address, Mr. Thavasilingam outlined the present ground situation of the Trincomalee district which is divided into 'cleared' and 'uncleared' areas.

He said due to the ban on fishing by the security forces, fisher folks in remote villages in Tiger-controlled areas were undergoing untold hardships to run their day to day lives.

Mr. N. Singaravelu , General secretary of the Consortium of NGOs said that in the heart of Trincomalee town Tamil fishermen were engaged in madel fishing at Uyanthapadu sea beach for several generations. Now Sinhala settlers, with the assistance of the state, had occupied the beach, depriving the fishermen who were engaged in madel fishing of their livelihood.

Dr. E. Gnanagunalan, President, Sri Lanka Red Cross, Trincomalee branch brought to the notice of the ADB team that on February 8 night a Sri Lanka Navy gunboat fired at a fishing boat in mid sea killing a fisherman and wounding three others who were later rescued by another naval boat.

He asked how fisheries development projects could be implemented in east coast when the lives of fishermen were in danger.

Attorney-at-Law K. Sivapalan, President of the Eastern Rehabilitation Organization pointed out to the ADB team that all monies allocated for fisheries and other development projects in east coast would be wasted until the war is brought to an end. He wanted the foreign funding agencies to think twice before making any commitment in this regard.

 

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